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VDH COVID-19 Update: 15 new cases, better understanding of transmission

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 5:45pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well a Department of Corrections staff member testing positive. Also, an investigation conducted by VDH scientists and staff from the Department of Corrections found that transmission of COVID-19 can occur during multiple brief exposures with someone who is infected. Notably, the findings of their work were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly on October 21, and were cited by the CDC when it announced its updated definition of what is considered to be a close contact.

VT Everyone Eats supports restaurants, farms, and families

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 5:25pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Everyone Eats organizers and partners gathered at one of the program’s weekly distribution points to highlight the impact the COVID-relief program has made in the eight weeks since its launch.  In August, the Vermont Legislature provided $5 million in CARES Act funding to create this program that engages restaurants to prepare meals for Vermonters hit by the pandemic.

Vermont investigation contributes to national understanding of COVID-19 transmission

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 5:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine An investigation conducted by Vermont Department of Health scientists and released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that transmission of COVID-19 can occur during multiple brief exposures with someone who is infected. Staff from the Health Department and the Department of Corrections looked into an instance in which a state corrections officer became infected after several brief interactions with incarcerated people who had COVID-19. None of the individual interactions lasted 15 minutes but together added up to more than that amount over time. The CDC definition now says a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. This is a refinement of previous guidance, which defined close contact as being within 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more at a time.

Leahy leads call for USDA to reverse decision to cut COVID relief to dairy farmers

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 4:40pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, a group of 15 Senators led by US Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the most senior member of the Committee, called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reverse its decision to unfairly exclude dairy farmers from receiving COVID-19 relief to cover losses related to meat production. While milk is the primary income for dairy farms, they often are diversified operations with significant revenue coming from the meat of cows as they are retired from milking. In the original Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the USDA compensated dairy farmers and other livestock producers for losses related to meat produced from breeding animals. When USDA announced CFAP 2, the second version of the relief program, the Department made a significant change to exclude those losses.

Strolling of the Heifers suspends operations

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 2:45pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine After careful analysis and consideration, the Board of Directors of Strolling of the Heifers, Inc has taken action to suspend all operations. With a heavy heart, this action is taken due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the financial operations of Strolling of the Heifers that is very dependent on the annual parade and associated events for its operation.

Second round of Frontline Employee Hazard Pay Grant Program expands eligibility

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 2:20pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced the second round of the Frontline Employee Hazard Pay Grant Program, which was passed by the Legislature. This round expands the types of employers who are now eligible to apply and includes employees who worked for an eligible employer last spring during the worst of the pandemic in Vermont but are no longer working for that employer. The first round distributed approximately $28 million to those primarily in the healthcare and human services fields. The first round covered approximately 370 employer applications, equating to approximately 15,650 employees who received a grant. The second round expands the employer type to include sectors such as pharmacies, grocery stores and certain retail, and appropriates an additional $22.5 million.

Rutland Regional opens Huebner Medical Office Building

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 12:10pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Thomas W Huebner Medical Office Building at Rutland Regional Medical Center was officially dedicated on Monday. The new building, which is adjacent to the hospital on Allen Street in Rutland, is the new home for the Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic, Physiatry services and ENT & Audiology. The virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony took place outside of the building with participants flanking the building’s namesake, Tom Huebner, former President and CEO of the hospital. Due to COVID-19 and safety protocols, comments for the building’s opening were pre-recorded and the final ribbon cutting footage was added to the video to capture the building’s story and purpose. 

Vermont gets $300,000 for small business export expansion

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 10:31am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Agency of Commerce and Community Development has received a $300,000 exporting grant to assist small businesses in the state. The grant is awarded through the Small Business Administration's State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), a federal-state partnership initiative to increase the number of small businesses exporting their products. Since STEP was established in 2010, Vermont has received a STEP grant each year. Vermont has received more than $2.3 million in STEP grants.

Union Bankshares reports increase net income, declares dividend

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 5:42pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Union Bankshares, Inc (NASDAQ - UNB) today announced results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend. Consolidated net income for the three months ended September 30, 2020 was $4.1 million, or $0.92 per share, compared to $2.7 million, or $0.62 per share, for the same period in 2019 and $9.0 million, or $2.01 per share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, compared to $7.9 million, or $1.77 per share, for the same period in 2019.

Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to scheme to increase opioid prescriptions

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 5:28pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Department of Justice announced an $8.3 billion global resolution of its criminal and civil investigations into the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP. The resolutions with Purdue are subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court. The scheme to use medical alert software to boost sales of opioids was uncovered by the US Attorney’s office in Vermont.

Leahy to Barr: Halt efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act in court

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 4:50pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), along with 19 other senators, on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr, urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to rescind its support of the Supreme Court lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the letter, the senators spotlight how health insurance protections for millions of Americans are at stake in light of the current Supreme Court nomination fight and the ways in which health insurers could discriminate against millions more people who contract COVID-19 if the pre-existing protections in the ACA are gutted.